Buckhead’s Mountain Way Common has seen an innocent request for some wood chips turn into what you might call too mulch of a good thing, as unknown arborists have overwhelmed the small park with at least seven illegally dumped truckloads of the stuff.

As of March 22, the 9-acre park at Mountain Way and North Ivy Road — located in a dramatic spot beneath a towering Ga. 400 and MARTA Red Line overpass — had heaps of wood chips dumped along a footpath and on a sidewalk along the street. Based on photos provided by the park’s friends group, more piles had appeared since a Reporter visit on March 9.

Wood chips dumped on a sidewalk along Mountain Way within Mountain Way Common Park on March 9. (John Ruch)

Dan Weede of Friends of Mountain Way Common said in an email that his group would welcome the public’s help in identifying the mulch-dumping culprits, and the city’s help in either hauling it all away or spreading it around in useful spots.

“We simply do not have the manpower to spread this much mulch ourselves, nor do we have the funds to hire a Bobcat operator to spread it,” said Weede.

Weede said that smaller-scale dumping has long been an issue in the roughly decade-old park, after it gained a reputation as welcoming wood-chip donations. He said the friends group calls local tree-service companies once a year to seek a donation of a single load of wood chips, which 15 to 20 volunteers then spend several hours spreading where needed.  “We make it VERY CLEAR that we only want one load (we learned that lesson the hard way),” Weede said in the email.

The amount of wood-chip mulch dumped along a trail in Mountain Way Common appeared to have grown from a couple piles on March 9, at left, to more later in the month, at right. (John Ruch/Friends of Mountain Way Common)

Apparently, those requests made the park’s name stick in someone’s head as a spot for uninvited dumping. “Historically, about once a year, we get an unsolicited pile of mulch dumped at MWC,” said Weede. “We don’t like it, but we usually just schedule an extra work day and spread it around.”

“I’m not what sure happened this year, but in the last 30 days, we have had seven or eight illegally dumped truckloads of mulch,” said Weede. “To make matters worse, these pirates dumped their loads nowhere near where we would need them.”

North Buckhead Civic Association president Robert Patterson mentioned the mulch-dumping at a March 2 meeting of Neighborhood Planning Unit B, where a representative of the city’s Department of Public Works said the mounds on the street would be picked up within two weeks. However, the piles remained more than three weeks later. Weede said he did not know that the city would pick up such debris; in the past, he said, the city would provide the park with a dumpster for cleanup days.

Weede said that residents or visitors who spot a suspicious vehicle in the park can send a photo to the friends group or the NBCA.

For more about the park, see mountainwaycommon.net.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.